April 7, 2019 By Quinn Tinsley In Garden Plants
Spain offers another daffodil of dwarf stature which fits neatly into the small garden landscape in N. minor. Growing about 8 inches (20 cm) high, the flowers in two tones of yellow are large in proportion to the stem length. I grew a form with full double flowers in my last garden which came to me as ‘Queen Anne’s Daffodil’.
Should I ever be asked to propose an archetype daffodil, then my choice would fall on N. pseudonarcissus which is naturalised in so many places throughout the British Isles. There are many different forms, usually with white petals and lemon yellow trumpets with an average stem length of 12 inches (30 cm). The largest concentration of this species I have ever seen occurs in Farndale, Yorkshire, where the bulbs have established over many acres in the damp fields – conditions to this daffodil’s liking. The picture they make when in bloom on a sunlit April day remains vivid in the memory. At one period this species formed a convenient dumping ground for any trumpet daffodils which needed classification, including the Tenby daffodil, N. obvallaris with self-colored, yellow flowers. Certainly the two are very closely related, though the Tenby daffodil lacks the robust constitution of the typical form.
There are two pheasant’s eye N. poeticus and the, so-called, old pheasant’s eye variety, N. poeticus – the popular name is misleading in that the latter was introduced from Switzerland only a hundred years ago, much later than flowers are white with a red cup, as found wild in the mountain areas of central and southern Europe. There must be many different forms, for the flowering season extended in my last garden from April until early June. N. poeticus recurvus has white-petalled flowers whose chrome yellow cup is edged with scarlet.
All the pheasant’s eye types are scented and pleasantly so. I like to see them under apple trees in a grassed-down orchard – with the play of sunlight filtering through the branches overhead making a patina across the flowers, or growing wild, as I so frequently found them, in moist alpine meadows against the commanding landscape of the mountain above La Grave.